Allegations of Assault

The following was prepared by ETFO Professional Relations Services Staff (PRS) and modified for ETT members.

What to do if it Happens to You

Call ETFO PRS immediately at 416-962-3836 and your ETT Executive Officer at 416-393-9930.

With any allegation, the stakes are very high. An improperly handled response to an allegation can have serious consequences for your career. Increasingly, calls come into ETFO’s Professional Relations Services (PRS) and to the ETT office from members who may be facing an allegation of assault. The Federation takes these kinds of allegations very seriously and advises proceeding with great caution even if the allegation seems totally unfounded.

The Federation’s experience is that even the most minor matters of this type may escalate out of control up to and including a criminal investigation and criminal charge. A supportive principal and board cannot always guarantee that matters resolve themselves. Parents have the right to take such allegations beyond school board personnel. The most likely agencies are the police and the Children’s Aid Society (CAS). All three in fact may become involved before the issue is resolved, as can too the Ontario College of Teachers.

Protect Yourself Against Allegations

Our advice is always to avoid situations that could lead to an allegation of assault.

  • It is unwise to touch children, physically move them, or steer them in another direction.
  • A simple touch can become the basis of an allegation of assault.
  • Avoid situations where you are alone with a student.
  • At times it will be necessary to use restraint procedures in a potentially harmful situation.
  • Be certain that the procedures used by staff are agreed upon by your principal and communicated to parents.

Be Aware

Teachers and school administrators are converned about the current litigious climate that allows such things to happen, but should not worry unduly. Being prepared and protecting yourself can go a long way towards peace of mind. Teachers in Ontario are doing a commendable job with students. A few horror stories can make a teacher feel very vulnerable and shatter confidence. It is essential that every teacher protect his/her rights by exercising her/his right to representation if any allegation of assault is made. You will reduce the trauma to yourself and prevent any damage to your professional reputation is you react in the most professional way possible.

Here Are The Steps to Follow if an Allegation of Assault is Made Against You

Call ETFO PRS immediately at 416-962-3836 and your ETT Executive Officer at 416-393-9930.

Each situation is unique and the Union will provide confidential information and assistance. ETFO and if necessary, its lawyers are there to protect you.

Make no statements to anyone, no matter how sympathetic or convincing they are, until you have spoken to your Federation.

This includes board personnel and even your own family members because in criminal cases involving children, anyone is a compellable witness. A statement is anything that you say or that you put in writing related to the alleged incident.

Our advice in these matters is not meant to cut members off from support systems. Members may discuss the fact that there is an allegation with family members and spouses and may discuss their feelings and reactions. The only prohibition is upon discussion of the alleged incident, the member’s version, and response to allegations.

If you are asked for a statement, the following will suffice: “I would like to cooperate but I cannot make any statement or discuss the matter further until i have had an opportunity to speak with ETFO (my Union).”


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